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Namibia’s cosmetics and essential oils sector flourishes

Industrialisation and trade minister Lucia Iipumbu says Namibia’s cosmetics and essential oils sector has grown in domestic production, enhancing possibilities for active participation in the regional value chain.

Iipumbu said this yesterday at the African Continental Free Trade Area Southern Africa Development Community regional consultation workshop, highlighting the sector’s notable advancements during a discussion on trade and development.

“For example, our exportable firms increased from five in 2016 to more than 35 by 2022 through concerted efforts by the private sector, the Namibian government and development partners,” Iipumbu said.

At SADC level, Namibia has prioritised sectors for value chain development, namely agro processing (leather processing), pharmaceutical, automobile, mineral beneficiation and tourism, she said.

“Namibia has the northern tannery, which is currently underutilised, and thus it will be great to optimise the usage of this tannery and produce hides and skins for value addition,” Iipumbu said.

She said regional value chains are part of Namibia’s industry growth programme, which is part of ongoing efforts to reinforce Namibia’s economic growth, reduce income inequality and increase employment for citizens.

Speaking at the same event, sport deputy minister Emma Kantema-Gaomas said women and youth traders are less likely to be equipped with appropriate skills in technology and resources to fully reap the fruits of the trade area agreement.

“Moreover, it’s important to note that the youth could play a critical role with the success of this trade area, also noting that Africa is one of the youngest populations, where we have 60% of our inhabitants under the age of 25,” Kantema-Gaomas said.

The way to fully embrace the trade area agreement is to take deliberate action to eliminate barriers, such as the protocol on youth and women, she said.

“This is what makes this consultative meeting an absolutely necessary step in seizing the considerable opportunities that this trade area has for using trade more effectively as an engine for growth and sustainable development,” Kantema-Gaomas said.

The two-day workshop aims to generate issues for inclusion in the protocol on women and the youth in trade and e-commerce, as well as to enhance access to economic opportunities for the youth at national and regional level, through sustainability in youth priority sectors.